MARCHing Orders for Spring Painting
To every thing there is a season, and as March ends, we’re entering the first stage of the exterior painting season. Depending upon where you live, it may or may not be warm enough to apply paint, but you can still get a jump on things, according to Debbie Zimmer, spokesperson for the Paint Quality Institute.
“Early spring is an ideal time to plan ahead and begin some of the prep work that’s key to a well-painted exterior,” says Zimmer. “Carefully inspect the outside of your home and write down what needs to be done. Your notes will serve as helpful ‘marching orders’ for the coming painting season.”
What to look for? Obviously, any sign of trouble on the siding or trim in the form of paint that is peeling or flaking, but also spots where ugly mold or mildew has taken hold.
Pay special attention to areas where different materials meet and note if the caulk is missing or deteriorated. Gaps in the exterior not only detract from the appearance of a home, but they also can create drafts, let costly air conditioning and heat escape, and lead to water damage.
If there’s any painted metal on your home’s exterior, see if the coating or coatings have been compromised. Is there rust on iron railings or efflorescence (powdery white residue) on aluminum siding, soffit or trim? If so, jot that down.
Note anything else that is amiss with your paint. Nearly any deficiency can detract from the appearance of your home and lessen its protection. And correcting these problems quickly may help prevent bigger issues in the future.
According to Zimmer, some projects can be done in almost any weather; others are weather-dependent.
For example, you can remove mildew on any dry day without regard to the temperature. Simply scrub the surface with a bleach solution, allow it to sit for 10 minutes or so, then wash away the offensive growth.
Most caulk can be applied when the temperature hits 50 degrees F, but take into account the overnight lows, which could leave surface materials below the threshold, at least earlier in the day. Just clean adjoining surfaces thoroughly, apply a bead of caulk, and smooth it with a moist finger to produce a tight, protective seal.
Likewise, 50 degrees F is typically the cutoff for exterior painting when using a latex coating (again, take overnight temperature into account). If you’re doing touch-ups, scrape away any loose or peeling paint, prime bare wood with quality acrylic latex primer, let it dry thoroughly, then apply one or two coats of 100% acrylic latex paint. (By using a “paint and primer” product, you can skip the prime coat.)
Your home is unlikely to suffer serious harm if you leave bare or primed wood exposed to the elements for a short time. But that’s not true with many metals, especially iron.
Once you scrape or sand away rust and expose bare metal, it must be primed immediately and painted as soon as possible afterward, or the rust could reappear in just a couple of days. So, don’t start this project unless the weather is warm enough to finish the job.
As you can see, you can make progress on your spring painting by inspecting your exterior, planning the work, and even tackling some projects right now. That’s the way to get a great jump on things!